eBooks may seem like the perfect format for social reading, but kids say that print books are still better for bedtime stories and sharing with friends, according to a report by Scholastic.
Emmy Award winning Animal Planet host Jeff Corwin is taking eBooks to the next level in a new series, Jeff’s Explorer Series, that uses high-quality videos to supplement the reading experience. This video-enhanced eBook experience is the first of its kind. Corwin says, “I am excited to bridge the medium of TV and publishing through the series.”
Two years ago (2009), I noticed that Microsoft Reader was once again being promoted on Microsoft.com after a four year absence.
Amazon and other ebook reader app providers recently had to modify their iPad apps to comply with Apple’s policy for not allowing links that lead to the purchase of content from outside of the in-app purchase mechanism. Amazon just made available a new service that could eventually lead to working completely around Apple’s policies. Amazon’s new cloud based web ebook reading service works with desktop browsers (Chrome and Safari) as well as the iPad’s Safari mobile browser.
Here’s how it works:
1. Point Safari mobile at read.amazon.com
2. Sign-in to your Amazon account
3. Increase the browser’s database size when prompted
4. Add a shortcut to the web app on the iPad’s home screen
5. Select and read any of the ebooks you’ve already purchased
The Kindle Cloud Reader can hold the contents off the ebook locally so that it can be read even when offline. The web app’s page turning felt fast and smooth when I tried it. However, accessing the controls hidden controls did not feel comfortable to me. The web app does not support multimedia books with audio content. The web app is also iPad specific. Amazon advises iPhone users to use the native Kindle app.
In 2009 former U.S. Vice President Al Gore released a follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth titled Our Choice. Gore has partnered with Push Pop Press to turn that book into an iPad app, which is now available in the iTunes App store and costs $4.99.
Gary Rosenzweig updated his iPad book to cover the iPad 2. Here’s my quick take of this 400 (paper) page book.
My iPad 2 provides simple to understand step-by-step instructions for working with every aspect of an iPad 2 as shipped from Apple. The full-color screenshots with easy to see and read pointers makes it easy to find objects on the screen that need to be tapped, swiped or typed in. The level of detail in the book is amazing. The only small error I found is in the section about activiting 3G service for AT&T. It still refers to the unlimited 3G data plan that AT&T discontinued as an option for new iPad 3G service requests.
I’m very impressed by both the completeness and the level of detail provided in each operational description in the book. This is one of those books that you probably wouldn’t buy for yourself but will buy to give to someone brand new to using an iPad 2 (or even the older original iPad). The book lists for $24.99 but is available for $16.32 in Amazon for the paper edition and $9.99 for the Kindle ebook edition. Que also provide a watermarked PDF DRM-free ebook for $17.99. Ironically, I did not find the book in Apple’s own iBooks store.
Finally, a shout out and thank you to the book’s publisher Pearson Educaion/QUE who provided a review copy of the book in an ebook format. This not only got the book to me while I was actually thinking about it but also let me “carry” the book in my iPad so I could read it as time allowed and while on the move. I wish all publishers would provide ebook review copies to get them to reviewers in a more timely manner, a more convenient format and with a smaller carbon footprint.
In the piece titled, “Why We Can’t Afford Not to Create a Well-Stocked National Digital Library System,” Rothman argues that as eReader technology gets cheaper, more widely adopted and is attracting the eyes of a younger generation, libraries will need to evolve and include digital collections to engage readers.
Here is more from the piece: “A library plan and related initiatives should include the actual collections, not just for traditional education and research but also for job training; tight integration with schools, libraries, and other institutions; encouragement of the spread of the right hardware and connections; and the cost-justification described in the stimulus proposal. Multimedia is essential, and Kindle-style tablets will almost surely include color and video in the future, blurring distinctions between them and iPads. But the digital library system mustn’t neglect books and other texts.”
Earlier today, we reported that since August digital distributor to libraries OverDrive had seen more than 100,000 downloads in libraries from its Project Gutenberg collection alone. These numbers will likely grow as the collection rolls out of beta and into full form.
Have you ever checked out a digital book from the library?